News letter August
iGEM TU Delft
Hi there!
A few set backs here and there with a few team members in quarantine, we are still working hard as a team and making a lot of progress! Take a look at our August. 
Despite the holidays, the dry lab team has been working hard in order to reach their goals.
We have almost finished modelling the interaction of phages with their target bacteria on a population level scale. We are expanding this model into a more complicated biofilm model, which not only takes time into account but also space. Essentially, this model tries to capture biofilm growth and phage infection using well-known principles (like diffusion and Monod kinetics). With this model we aim to investigate what the influence is of the bacterial distribution in 2D space in the locust gut on phage propagation. In other words, the locust gut probably consists of bacteria that are susceptible to our bacteriophage and bacteria that aren't. How does the distribution of those different kinds of bacteria in the biofilm influence our biopesticide?
At last, one of our aims is to use RNA interference (RNAi) to kill the locusts. In order to make this toxic molecule very specific to our desert locust, we are planning on making a program that scans RNAi sequences for any potential off-targets in other organisms. This will help us ensure the specificity of our biopesticide.
This month has been difficult for the wet lab team due to the COVID-19 measures. As a consequence, half of our team spent 10 days in quarantine designated by the Dutch government, after spending holidays back in people's home countries.
That means that, during this month, more focus has been driven to the design of the coming up experiments, inclusing the engineering of bacteriophages, and the production of Cry7Ca1 toxin and RNAi.
Finding the right dilution for plaque formation after phage infection was the first step of the phage engineering experiments. Moreover, we have performed the first recombineering experiments and hope that we have positive results soon!
Furthermore, we have worked on the characterization of the expression of the Cry7Ca1 toxin under different induction conditions. We have also been dsicussing and designing the experiments that will be done for RNAi approach.
Beyond the science
PHOCUS really likes going that extra mile. That is why part of our team is working hard on identifying how we can grow from an iGEM project to a real life company. Focussing on three different aspects - the business, the product and the customer -  several analyses are being performed to accomodate stakeholder's needs as best as possible in detailed business plans and market, SWOT and risk-benefit analyses. 
We like to make you think we are working hard all the time, but the truth is, iGEM is also about having fun! The past month, we have given our project a fun twist: cooking with locusts. To raise awareness on the current locust crisis, we decided to perform a playful outreach show. We ordered freeze-dried locusts and made up our own recipes to cook with them. Three episodes were made, each with its own theme. No further spoilers.
Wonder what the recipes are? Check out our social media! The cooking show episodes will be online soon.
We will not lie, though. Locusts have a very peculiar taste.
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